Thursday, November 13, 2014

Missouri Glade Map available to anyone with internet service....

The multi-year glade mapping project in which I was engaged came to a close this year after years of field verification of the existence of glades and mapping with various geospatial referencing tools. In October, Missouri’s Comprehensive Natural Glades Map was made accessible to GIS users. In recent weeks, a conservation-based organization in Mississippi has made the Missouri Glade Map accessible to everyone. Now, both GIS and internet users can access the virtual locations of Missouri’s restorable glades. Internet users can open the link here to view an interactive map tool that displays the locations of over 88,000 Missouri glades. The map tool allows users to zoom down to whatever scale they wish to view, change the map background layers (topo maps, satellite, terrain, etc), and save their own custom versions of the map. The Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks Landscape Conservation Cooperative (GCPO LCC) developed the interactive map link and provided funding support to complete the Missouri Glade mapping effort.

A concise map of Missouri’s extant glades separated by geologic landforms has major conservation implications. The glade mapping project revealed that the majority of Missouri’s glade acreage still exists, although in variously disturbed condition and quality. Mapping methodology and field verification assumes that the mapped glades are to some degree restorable (other than glades destroyed by highways, housing developments, reservoirs and quarries), which means that it can be reasonably assumed that if a landowner cuts and burn cedars, and keeps the cows off these native grasslands, that some semblance of biological integrity can be recovered. During the field verification exercises, I encountered multiple private landowners who were excited that they owned a special piece of landscape, and many of them commented about the "big dragons" and "pretty yellow coneflowers" that exist on their land, but not quite knowing what to do with it. Unfortunately, we also discovered thousands of acres of glades that had been grazed to hell by domestic livestock and may never recover. Missouri's landscapes are a patchwork quilt, obviously, of high, low, and restorable quality, but glade restoration is easy. Keep the cows out of native ecosystems, and use fire periodically to stimulate the seedbank.

An equally important application of the mapping data is the analysis of Missouri’s glade distribution/patterns, rock substrate type and floristic affinities. Throughout the Interior Highlands, it has been noted that 25 glade types across 8 states exist, and the conservation importance of these special natural communities include that at least 207 plant and animal species of conservation concern inhabit these areas. And now, anyone with internet service can see where the glades are.

6 comments:

HiggsBoson said...

That was interesting. Did you visit all these glades yourself?

I went straight to Madison County. I remember the glades on Matthew Mtn. You could see forever.

The remaining glades must be mostly on the sides of mountains because pretty much every inch of bottomland has been converted to pasture.

Don't worry, Allison, as the population doubles and doubles again, developers will find a use for your pretty glades.

Allison Vaughn said...

No, I didn't visit all the glades, but a big chunk of them. Basically, I looked for patterns, so if, say, around Jefferson County there was a big belt of glades, I'd go check them out and ask landowners if I could do so, to verify the patterns. I did that a lot, but around the chert glade country, Joplin area, it took individual field truthing to verify. The state extent of chert glades in Missouri is in the local area around Joplin. Most of the chert glades have been destroyed by quarrying. Same thing with development--scroll down to the Branson country and you'll see thousands of acres of dolomite glades that have roads and housing developments on them now. Protecting biodiversity is a losing battle, I recognize, so I try to pick my battles and I drink a lot of wine.
Thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

Are there any books you might recommend on Missouri glades?

Allison Vaughn said...

There's an article that a large group of us worked on. You can find it here: http://www.chjv.org/projects.html The primary document explains the significance and definition of glades, and the appendices list plants and animals that are loyal to glades.

Anonymous said...

How could I find out if I have a glade on my property here in NW Reynolds County? I have a few areas on my place that I have thought could be glades. According to the map there are a couple on adjacent lands so I'm even more interested now. We are currently in the early stages of our restoration management plan for the property and would like to incorporate this possibility into our management practices. Thanks.

Allison Vaughn said...

If you pull up the various maps as a background you should be able to see your property. Because we did this project with aerial photography, if your glades are smaller than an acre, we probably didn't map them. I would recommend visiting public lands or glades near your property to compare what your area looks like to the mapped glades. You should be able to pull up Google earth to find your property in the link above. Good luck, and great work on restoring your property.